Myanmar minister Phyo Min Thein 'deepfake' corruption 'confession'

Occurred: March 2021

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A March 2021 video of Yangon former chief minister Phyo Min Thein apparently confessing to corrupting Aung San Suu Kyi with silk, gold and cash has been widely denounced as a fake.

Journalists, academics and others who know Phyo Min Thein quickly noted that his voice in the video did not sound like his real voice and that his lips appeared to be out of sync with his words, and that the video was likely to be a deepfake.

Per WIRED, screen-shots from an online deepfake detector indicated with 90-percent-plus confidence that the confession was a deepfake. However, WITNESS director Sam Gregory reckons it may be a coerced or forced confession on camera.

The video was broadcast by the military-owned Myanmar TV (MRTV) station, which had been used to formally announce the military coup d'état. The video also showed a mayor of Naypyitaw alleging her National League for Democracy party had committed electoral fraud by inventing voters.

Suu Kyi had appointed Phyo Min Thein as chief minister after he won the 2015 election representing Yangon's Hlegu township at the Yangon regional parliament. He was detained by Myanmar's armed forces in the aftermath of their coup d'état in February 2021.

Operator: Myawaddy TV (MRTV)
Developer:
Government of Myanmar

Country: Myanmar

Sector: Govt - police; Govt - security

Purpose: Damage reputation

Technology: Deepfake - video
Issue: Mis/disinformation

Transparency: Governance